South Carolina Fends Off Georgia for, 86-80, Road Win
Gamecocks shot 65.2 percent in the second half (15-for-23 FG, 5-for-5 from 3)
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A.J. Lawson and Chris Silva scored 19 points apiece as South Carolina ended a two-game losing streak with an 86-80 win over Georgia on Saturday.
Derek Ogbeide led Georgia (10-11, 1-7 SEC) with 16 points. Tyree Crump added 14.
The Gamecocks (11-10, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) never trailed, but had to fight off repeated comeback attempts by Georgia. The last one climaxed when a pair of free throws by Georgia’s William Jackson made the score 83-80 with just 1:06 to play, but the Bulldogs could not get the rebound off a missed shot by Carolina’s Hassan Gravett.
Georgia fouled Lawson, who hit two free throws. Georgia then missed three 3-point attempts on its next possession and ran out of time.
South Carolina scored the first seven points of the game and built a 14-4 lead when Lawson hit a 3-pointer from the corner at 14:02 of the first half. It was 22-8 by the time Silva scored on a breakaway dunk with 9:39 to play in the half.
The Gamecocks’ man-to-man defense was stifling. All of Georgia’s first eight points were second-chance points. The Bulldogs had failed to generate a point off its offense until 9:00 to play when Okbeide hit two free throws after being fouled on a drive.
The Gamecocks briefly pushed the first-half lead to 15 on another 3 by Lawson with 6:42 to play. It was still a 14-point lead with 3:27 to go in the half after a 3 by Tre Campbell.
But Georgia scored nine straight points, capped by an acrobatic tip-in by Jordan Harris with 1:47 to play for cut the margin to 40-35. It was 45-40 at halftime.
Jackson opened the second half for Georgia with a 3-pointer to cut the margin to two points, but the Bulldogs could get no closer. South Carolina’s lead expanded and contracted until 6-9 sophomore forward Felipe Haase nailed three straight 3s in 95 seconds to make it 69-56 with 9:41 to play, prompting a Georgia timeout.
Georgia did not rally immediately. The Bulldogs were still down 10 with 4:09 to play, but cut it to five on another acrobatic tip by Harris with 3:07 to go. Gravett, a Georgia native, hit a step-back 3 with 2:41 to play, which proved to be the Gamecocks’ last field goal.
> South Carolina shot 56.9 percent (33-for-58) and was 15-for-23 (65.2 percent) in the second half alone on Saturday. The hot shooting day was the fifth highest field goal percentage in the Frank Martin era.
> The Gamecocks were 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from 3, the second-highest percentage under Martin at Carolina since the team shot 73.3 percent (11-for-15) vs. Auburn on March 12, 2014.
> South Carolina built a 15-point lead in the first half, holding Georgia to 3-of-19 (16 percent) shooting the first 11 minutes.
> Senior Chris Silva had 19 points and six rebounds, his 12th double-figure outing in the last 14 games.
> Freshman A.J. Lawson also tied with Silva for a game-high 19 points. The Toronto, Ontario, native had a team-high seven rebounds in 34 minutes. His 19 points mark his second highest scoring output in eight SEC games (had 24 in win at Vanderbilt (1/16/19).
> Redshirt senior guard Hassani Gravett had 13 off the bench. The Villa Rica, Ga., native went 3-of-4 from behind the arch in his return to his home state. Gravett now has 13 games this season with multiple 3s.
> Freshman Keyshawn Bryant also finished in double-figures with 11 in 30 minutes.
> Graduate transfer point guard Tre Campbell had nine points (3-of-5 from 3) and a career-high seven assists.
> Sophomore forward Felipe Haase had nine points (3-for-4 from deep). The Osorno, Chile, native went on a 9-0 run all by himself, putting Carolina up 13, 69-56, with 9:42 to go after making three consecutive shots from deep.
> The Gamecocks improve to 8-1 during the 2018-19 season when scoring 80 or more points.
South Carolina travels to No. 7/6 Kentucky next Tuesday for its lone matchup of the season vs. the Wildcats. The Gamecocks are seeking their first win at Rupp Arena since 2009. The conference clash will be broadcast on the SEC Network and will tip at 7 p.m. ET with Tom Hart (pxp) and Andy Kennedy (analyst) on the call.